The Edmond Sun

Local News

October 2, 2012

Survey ranks Oklahoma 42nd in lawsuit climate

EDMOND — A survey of lawyers for U.S. companies that ranks Oklahoma’s lawsuit climate No. 42 does not take into account recent reforms, a spokesman for the governor said.

The 2012 state liability systems ranking, released in September, was conducted for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform to explore how fair and reasonable states’ tort liability systems are and to quantify how corporate attorneys view state systems.

Respondents were a national sample of 1,125 in-house general counsel, senior litigators or attorneys and other senior executives knowledgeable about litigation matters at companies with at least $100 million in annual revenue.

Oklahoma’s lawsuit climate was No. 42 in 2012 compared to No.  31 in 2010 and No. 17 in 2008. The states ranked below Oklahoma in 2012 were: Alabama, New Mexico, Montana, Illinois, California, Mississippi, Louisiana and West Virginia.

Regarding Oklahoma’s score card on elements of its liability systems, the state was No. 31 in timeliness of summary judgment dismissal, No. 39 in discovery and No. 39 in judges’ impartiality. It was also ranked in having and enforcing meaningful venue requirements (No. 41), overall treatment of tort and contract litigation (No. 43), treatment of class action suits and mass consolidation suits (No. 40), damages (No. 43), scientific and technical evidence (No. 31), judges’ competence (No. 45) and juries’ fairness (No. 43).

Lisa A. Rickard, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform president, said some states, like Pennsylvania and West Virginia, are allowing plaintiffs’ lawyers to “forum shop” for favorable venues like Philadelphia to cash in.



Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has often said her main priority is to bring more and better jobs to the state through pro-business reforms that make it a more attractive place for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Alex Weintz, a spokesman for the governor, said part of the reality behind Oklahoma’s ranking is its outdated reputation as having too many lawsuits and too many excessive awards.

In 2011, the governor signed four lawsuit reform measures: House Bill 2128, which put a hard cap of $350,000 on non-economic damages. Weintz said the change is preventing the kind of “jack-pot justice” that pushes businesses and jobs out of the state and into locations with better legal climates.

“Those reforms are working and are already demonstrating results,” Weintz said.

The number of malpractice judgments against doctors, for example, has plummeted to a 10-year low, a development that will help contain medical costs and keep doctors practicing in the state, Weintz said.

Additionally, Fallin signed HB 2024, which authorizes periodic payments instead of lump-sum payments for damages exceeding $100,000; Senate Bill 865, which instructs juries that awards are not subject to taxation; and SB 862, which eliminates joint and several liability.

Fallin also signed SB 878, which rewrites the state’s workers’ compensation laws to reduce costs for businesses and ensure injured workers receive proper care and can return to work in a timely manner, and HB 2038, which authorizes workers’ compensation annual reports and data collection.

Weintz said the governor is watching the effects of the reforms and will determine future steps as warranted.

Earlier this year, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, of Edmond, released his 2012 policy and issues report. One of his main concerns is workers’ compensation. In the report, Lamb stated that reforms passed last year have contributed to an estimated $30 million in cost savings to businesses.

Because of systemic problems, additional reforms have been suggested by business owners, Lamb stated. The policy recommendations cover three main issues — combating fraud, providing coverage options for businesses and changing the makeup of workers’ compensation court judges to stop excessive awards.

Text Only
Local News
  • earth day 7.jpg Central community learns about water conservation

    Edmond residents know about rain that falls from their roofs after a storm. Some may not know what kind of important role it plays in the nation’s water supply.
    Tim Tillman, the University of Central Oklahoma’s sustainability coordinator, said UCO has a tradition of innovation in sustainable practices. Tillman said Earth Day, first brought to the campus more than 20 years ago, began that tradition.
    During Tuesday’s Earth Day Fair, Jason Summers, a Coca-Cola account manager for on-premise sales, was giving away rain barrels and educating members of the Central Oklahoma community about the benefits of rain barrels.

    April 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • pic 2.JPG Energy secretary touts CNG fleet conversion

    Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague said the state is leading the way in converting its fleet of vehicles to run on compressed natural gas.
    And, he adds, the state is working to get federal officials engaged in moving its fleet of vehicles in Oklahoma to use CNG.
    Teague made those statements Tuesday during a visit to Champion CNG, 13915 N. Harvey Ave. in Edmond. The visit also coincided with Earth Day.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3 Senate candidates say no to Sharia law

    Whether to deport non-citizen Muslim men in the U.S. who believe violence is justified by Sharia law was a question asked to three of the seven Republicans running for the U.S. Senate.
    The Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee hosted a debate recently in Oklahoma City. The office is being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.
    Congressman James Lankford said Great Britain has experimented with allowing certain pockets of their nation to function under Sharia law.

    April 22, 2014

  • MS_weather graphic.jpg Local forecast includes multiple severe weather days

    Severe thunderstorms will be possible in the area Wednesday and during the weekend.
    The National Weather Service says severe storms are expected to develop near a dryline across western Oklahoma down into Texas late Wednesday afternoon. Primary concerns will be very large hail and damaging wind gusts.
    During the evening and overnight hours, the storms are expected to form a squall line and move east into central portions of the state. As this occurs, the main threat will become damaging straight-line winds.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Authorities make 8th arrest in Logan Co. homicide

    Authorities have arrested an eighth suspect in a homicide which involved the discovery of a badly burned body along a Logan County road.
    On Jan. 31, firefighters were dispatched to a grass fire in a rural area located south of State Highway 33 between Langston and Guthrie, Logan County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Richard Stephens stated in a previous report. While extinguishing the fire, firefighters discovered a badly burned male body, Stephens said.

    April 22, 2014

  • Citizens Caring for Children to participate in 1-mile walk

    Citizens Caring for Children will join thousands of Oklahomans on Saturday for the fourth annual Walk a Mile in My Shoes foster care awareness walk. The 1-mile walk will take place at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S. Mickey Mantle Drive, Oklahoma City, from 9-11 a.m.

    April 22, 2014

  • Police report home burglary outbreak in Edmond

    Police said they are seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect linked to a string of residential burglaries with common occurrences.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-22 Good Reads

    NOTE: Email to have your name entered into a drawing for “The Noisy Paint Box.” Deadline is 10 a.m. April 28. Winner will be notified by return email. Winner is responsible for picking up the book at The Edmond Sun at 123 S. Broadway. All entrants must be 18 or older to win.

    April 22, 2014

  • Pom UCO Cheer, Pom finish big at Nationals

    The University of Central Oklahoma’s cheer and pom squads traveled to Daytona Beach, Fla., April 10-12 for the National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Alliance College Nationals, bringing home second place trophies in All-Girl Cheer, Dance Hip Hop and Dance Team Division II, and fourth place in Coed Intermediate Cheer.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • UCO presents Missouri poet laureate for reading

    The University of Central Oklahoma’s College of Liberal Arts will host a poetry reading from William Trowbridge, poet laureate for Missouri, 7:30 p.m. April 29 in Pegasus Theater in the Liberal Arts building on Central’s campus.

    April 21, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down Rise of the Milkbots TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl High school, College Drug Ring Busted In Montgomery County High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Raw: Keflezighi, Jeptoo Win Boston Marathon Teen hitchhikes in wheel well of flight from California to Hawaii Lindsay Lohan's Jaw-Dropping Secret President Sends Message To Boston And Marathon Runners LA Pastor Attracts Churchgoers with Pot Lauren Stoner Shows Off Her Incredible Bikini Body

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

     View Results